Sergio Perez says he will need to “go on to the next step in all aspects” for Red Bull Racing to ensure the team wins the Formula 1 world championship if it has a car capable of doing so.
Red Bull opted to replace Alex Albon with Perez last month, after an extremely impressive season saw the Mexican finish fourth in the drivers’ championship behind only the Mercedes pair and Max Verstappen. Perez took his first Formula 1 win at the penultimate race at Sakhir, coming at the 190th attempt after a career with Sauber, McLaren and Force India/Racing Point, but he says he promises to exceed expectations in what he hopes is a front-running Red Bull car.
“I am always pushing to the maximum and last year I finally had a car that I could show a bit more and people saw what I am capable of, but now is my big opportunity,” Perez said. “I have to go on to the next step in all aspects and I think I’m ready for it. The only thing I was lacking was the opportunity. Now I have it, it’s up to me to make it work.
“I’m going to make sure I overdeliver. If we have a car that can win the championship, I’ll make sure we win it. And if not, and we only have a car that’s good enough for third, I will make sure that we finish second.
“I hope we’re going to have a really good season and it’s the only way I can replay Mr. (Dietrich) Mateschitz (Red Bull co-founder), Dr (Helmut) Marko, Christian (Horner), Adrian (Newey) and all the team. Nobody before has given me the chance to be in a big team. We’re going to hear the Mexican national anthem many times (in 2021), I hope!”
Asked what he is most excited about for 2021, Perez said, “The car — seeing how competitive we are able to be. We definitely have to close the gap to Mercedes and hopefully be able to beat them with both cars regularly, give them a big challenge and hopefully give a better spectacle to Formula 1 itself as well.
“It just takes a little bit to change the whole picture. From what I’ve heard from the engineers they’ve been working really hard this winter.”